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Anything Is Possible
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Archive: Other Books > Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout- 3 Stars (sorry guys!)

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message 1: by Joi (last edited Dec 21, 2017 02:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments Sorry Strout lovers. I think my lack of enthusiasm came from a combo of audio in the car-with semi short stories, a very distracted mind, and I think I'm not quite the target market for Strout. This is the second I've read of hers (after My Name Is Lucy Barton), and I've come up with 3 stars both times. This is emotion-based, not plot driven- but I think the 'short story'-ness of it made me not really care about the characters emotions enough as I should.

Parts of this really were truly 5-star worthy- I loved the story of Angelina's mom in Italy, and the poignancy of "Fatty Patty"s story. I enjoyed the ability to see other perspectives given the format, but other stories I felt just dragged on. I liked the themes of superiority, vulnerability, family matters, questioning your philosophical outlook- but sometimes they just felt overdone. Like I get it- you don't need to have an aspect of someone feeling less or more vulnerable just to make them relateable in EVERY STORY. Kind of felt like in the reality shows where everyone has a sob story. There are a lot of nuances and depth, and I liked the interwoven aspects of the stories, but how can a story feel so overdone-when really nothing happens in the book?!

Maybe Strout just isn't for me. Or maybe I need to wait 20 years, then try reading her.


Anita Pomerantz | 6432 comments Joi wrote: "Sorry Strout lovers. I think my lack of enthusiasm came from a combo of audio in the car-with semi short stories, a very distracted mind, and I think I'm not quite the target market for Strout. Thi..."

I'm a little sad to see we don't share a love for this author, but when I think about your point on age, I actually think that could be a major factor.

As I've aged, what I look for in a book has definitely changed, but Strout is definitely much more my contemporary than yours. I think her writing addresses a lot of the pains of everyday living, ones you might not really experience until you've gone through a lot of the life stages - - marriage, kids, adult kids, etc. etc. So, I think your comment about needing to wait 20 years is actually perceptive and probably correct.

I'll also say that my appreciation for the short story form has been ever increasing. Hopefully it is not that my attention span has shortened, lol. I don't think so. I just think the difficulty of writing a short story that actually packs a punch is something I've grown to appreciate the more and more I read.


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